Monthly Archives: January 2012

Wordless Wednesday

My first ever Wordless Wednesday!  Here ya go.

This is a picture I took at Trevi Fountain in Rome. I took this on our honeymoon in December, 2010.. we tried to avoid super touristy places like this, but I'd give anything to be back there right now.

Adventures in Homemade Deodorant Making Part 2

Armed with an opinion backed up by some amount of credible research, I went to the Passionate Homemaking blog and found a recipe.

6-8 TBS. coconut oil

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Any additional essential oils you’d like

It also told me to mix the powders, then add the coconut oil until I was happy with the consistency. Simple enough, but I didn’t have any of these materials. I went to Tropical Traditions and invested in some gold label virgin coconut oil because I knew I would use it quite a bit, not even really for the health reasons, but simply because I LOVE coconut. I ordered it so that it would arrive when my conventional stick ran out so that I wouldn’t have to miss a day (ew).

I had never heard of arrowroot powder because this being healthy and trying new things is new and completely foreign to me, so I opted for cornstarch. When the coconut oil arrived, I got to work. I mixed liquid coconut oil with the dry powders, and poured it into my old empty stick of conventional deodorant. This is what happened when I used it:

That, my friends, was uncomfortable. It only happened on one armpit though, strangely. Undeterred, I pressed forward and thought that maybe since my skin wasn’t used to any of those ingredients, it would take a few days to normalize and adjust. Well, the itchy red rash was as persistent as I was and just would not go away. I went back to the drawing board and adjusted the ratio of powders. Instead of a 1:1, I did 1:2 baking soda to cornstarch. That didn’t help.

Eventually, after a long while (we’re talking months) of hypothesizing and figuring out what I was reacting to, it occurred to me that it was probably the coconut oil. I was heartbroken.

Then it occurred to me that if I actually did some research on arrowroot powder, I might be able to use that instead of the cornstarch. So, I went to a neat spice store in my hometown and picked some up.

Arrowroot, in case you didn’t know, is a plant. It’s actually an herb that grows in tropical climates, and grows well in Florida. The plant is about 25% starch, and that gets extracted and is used as a food thickener. When I opened the bag, I noticed that it had a very faint but distinct aroma. It smelled quite good actually. After doing some reading, I found that you have to be careful when purchasing arrowroot powder because the extraction process can be harmful, and apparently it gets mixed with other types of starch so it’s not 100% pure arrowroot. Oh well, I’ll do better next time.

So, I gathered my empty deodorant container (the same one that I’ve been using for almost a year), arrowroot powder, coconut oil, a bowl, and baking soda:

I mixed about 6 TBS arrowroot powder with 3 TBS baking soda. I took a spatula and added about 5 TBS of coconut oil in its solid form. It’s important to note that coconut oil is solid at 76 degrees Fahrenheit and below, but right above that it melts. For example, it melts upon body contact because of your body heat.

I applied just a little bit of heat to get everything to go together better, but honestly it’s easier to tell what the consistency is if you just work the coconut oil in by hand in its solid state. Once I had it to where I wanted it, I poured it into my recycled deodorant container and let it set up.

I have had no reactions with the arrowroot powder formula. I really like this method, and it seems to be working a lot better. I read that most people react to the baking soda though, so my reaction to the cornstarch is something that I find strange.

The final product smells fresh and clean and actually not overly coconutty, and I didn’t use any additional oils. A little bit of this goes a long way, so use a light hand when applying this. If you put too much on, the coconut oil will run down your arm and be gooey. If you don’t use that much of it, it works out fine. I also suggest trying this out first on a weekend or on a day when you don’t actually have to go see anybody because trust me, you WILL be obsessively smelling your pits to make sure you aren’t stinking up the place. You probably will be smelling just fine, but it’s still good to check.

Since I have switched, I noticed that my clothes don’t end up stained anymore. The commercial deodorant was reacting with my sweat and creating this weird film that would just sit on my clothes, and eventually create all kinds of problems. No matter what I did it wouldn’t come out! This doesn’t happen with the homemade deodorant. It washes out clean and leaves no residue.

There are two main drawbacks though. I live on the Texas gulf coast, and it gets HOT here in the summer. If you’re going on a road trip and taking this with you, I suggest wrapping it up in an icepack or tossing it in a plastic baggy and putting it in a cooler. I have to admit that I probably would not take this on an airplane either without seriously bagging it up because it will melt en route. It isn’t as convenient as a toss-and-go commercial deodorant. I have read that this can be fixed by adding some beeswax to the recipe to firm it up, and that seems to work fine. Secondly, you will sweat with this. This is not an antiperspirant. Sweating is good though because it’s your body’s way of ridding itself of toxins and other impurities. If you wear an undershirt or don’t over-apply this, you will likely not have any issues.

As I mentioned above, essential oils can also be added for additional scents. I have heard of people using chamomile, melaleuca (also known as tea tree oil), rose, (clove (I’ve heard it has antiseptic properties but I think too much of this would burn but I’m not sure), lavender, and patchouli. I would like to get some beeswax and some oils and continue experimenting with this deodorant when this stick runs out.

So, even though there is lots of debate about these chemicals, I am choosing the fewer chemical route.

Have you made any homemade deodorant? Do you have any interest in it? What are your thoughts?

Adventures in Homemade Deodorant Making Part 1

Yeah... this is a chemical

This is a label from your average, traditional stick of deodorant. Aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex is used in many conventional deodorant/antiperspirants. It works because it blocks pores in your underarm area, thereby preventing sweating. Additionally, it supposedly binds with sweat and inhibit odors. There is great debate raging at the moment about whether or not this stuff is significantly harmful if used in any appreciable quantity. The problem for me is that you basically apply this material directly to your lymph nodes. More on this later.

This is a list of the inactive ingredients in that same stick of conventional deodorant. Petrolatum, aka petroleum jelly (think Vaseline), is a semi-solid white/yellow substance that is created from the fractional distillation of petroleum. Petrolatum use in cosmetics has been banned in the UK (unless the source can be proven free of toxins) because it has been found in breast tumors. Now, Vaseline has been around for a loooonnnggg time, and I’m not going to sit here and even try to pretend that I will never use Vaseline again. The problem for me is that I’m applying this stuff mere centimeters from my breast tissue. Basically everything in this list is a suspected carcinogen (but isn’t everything?), especially cyclopentasiloxane and fragrances.

Now back to the lymph node issue. Your lymph nodes belong to a vitally important component of your body called the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system’s job is to clean and detoxify, heal and aide in tissue regeneration, circulate hormones and antibodies, build and maintain a healthy, functioning immune system, and filter inorganic waste. It accomplishes this via a large network of vessels in your body.

At various points in your body, called lymph nodes, the lymph (the yellow fluid that circulates in the lymphatic system) gets filtered and bacteria, foreign objects, etc. get trapped there and antibodies against foreign invaders are manufactured and sent out to the circulatory system. There are lymph nodes in your neck, under your arms, and lots of other places. The white blood cells located there then clean up and dispose of these wastes that are delivered. Lymph node swelling is an indication of physical health because when your lymph nodes swell, your body is fighting a foreign invader. Even though the American Cancer Society says deodorants don’t cause breast cancer, I decided that if I could minimize the chemicals that might be absorbed into an area containing such important lymph nodes, I would try it. In my opinion, the research is incomplete at best as to whether or not the chemicals are being absorbed into our bodies and causing these cancers.

Wishing to try to reduce the amount of chemicals I applied directly the lymph node area of my body, I set out to make my own deodorant. Stay tuned for part two!

Newbie Blogger Giveaway Hop!

Newbie Quick #3

  We’re back for round three!!

For the past two weeks, a group of newbie bloggers have joined together to give you all some great prizes. Now, we’re back and ready to offer some more prizes!!

When you’re a newbie blogger, one of the most important things you can do is connect with other great bloggers who want to help and are willing to share their tips and tricks. The Newbie Blog Hop started so that we could connect with other newbies and learn together!

The Newbie Blog Hop, hosted by GoingCrazy!!WannaGo??!! and Life’s Cheap Thrills, opens every Tuesday at 9pm CST and closes at midnight on Friday. We have a Facebook Group where we share with each other as we learn together.

If you are a newbie blogger – or you “feel” new – come join us!! Read the rest of this entry

My Goals for 2012

I didn’t make one large, overall resolution this year. I find that making one huge resolution, and resolving to do whatever it is (give up fast food completely, not drink ANY soda, lose 100 pounds, etc.) sets me up for a colossal failure that makes me feel like crap for not being able to follow through.

So this year, I’m going to set a few smaller, specific goals to complete throughout the year. They are:

1. I would like to finish this huge scrapbooking project I started but didn’t finish. See, a few months ago (ok, lots of months ago) I was going to add pictures to my photo albums and set out to find the photo album pages. You know, those magnetic ones that have the sticky pages that you attach the photos to and put that clear layer of plastic over it? Yeah, they don’t make those anymore. I looked everywhere. I ended up at Hobby Lobby and realized the best thing for me to do would be to just get with the times and make an actual scrapbook. So, I purchased a scrapbook, some of those scrapbook papers, photo corners (so that I wouldn’t have to glue anything to paper), and extra scrapbook pages and set to work. It is sitting in my living room, and I haven’t finished it. My goal is to get this project completely finished and out of the living room.

2. Back in December, I agreed to be the online chair for a local Relay for Life group. My goal is to do that job well, get everything done on-time and correctly, and help the committee put on a fabulous event in April.

3. I have a cousin, a brother-in-law, and a step-sister-in-law all graduating from high school in a few months and all three of them are going off to college. I was asked to write a guide to college life for my cousin, and I wanted to make copies for my brother and step-sister as well. My goal is to get their guide to college life finished BEFORE they graduate. Speaking of, if any of you guys have hints, tips, or advice that you would have liked somebody to have given you before you started college, please feel free to share! You can comment, Facebook, or email.

4. My mother-in-law gave me the most beautiful Singer sewing machine from 1948 a few weeks ago. I would LOVE to take it apart, clean and restore it, and then use it to actually make something. My goal is to get this project completed and this machine restored.

5. My dad died suddenly back in January of 2010, without leaving a will of any sort. It has been two years of heartache, drama, probate courts, and trying to account for all of his things and get an estate settled. My goal is to finally finish up his estate (which seems to just get more complicated by the day), and hopefully do an ash-spreading thing for his birthday this August.

6. Of course, I need to lose weight. I am not going to set a goal of how much, but being a healthier person is a goal of mine. 

7. I would love, love, love to take this blog to new heights! I would love to do some super awesome reviews, bring back my workout Wednesday section, post some hints and tips on green cleaning, and do all kinds of other things. My goal is to get to a certain amount of Facebook and blog followers.

8. Lastly, I need to forgive. I need to try hard to not hold grudges and let things go… nobody is perfect all the time, and this last year has made me realize that if I don’t learn to forgive people, I’m going to be angry and negative all the time. My goal is to remember that people aren’t perfect, I’m not perfect, and it’s ok to forgive others as well as forgive myself.

Of course, we’re going to continue to TTC, but I don’t want to make a baby a goal because I know that will just layer the pressure on. It’ll happen when it happens. What are your goals for 2012?